“Princess Wearing Lipstick with Puffy Sleeves and Hat and Bows”

When I was five years old, I drew this picture (9×12) with pencil and markers and grandly dictated the title to my mother who wrote it down: “Princess Wearing Lipstick with Puffy Sleeves and Hat and Bows.” I signed “VAL” on my drawing. Little did I know that I would write my own fairy tale.

When I was growing up, my father would read the Brothers Grimm fairy tales to me as I went to sleep, but what I didn’t realize was that as he read them, he would gloss over the brutality and harsh details of those stories.

One time my dad went on a business trip, so my little self decided that I would read myself to sleep.  I lugged that big Brothers Grimm book off the top library shelf and settled on an innocuous-sounding but highly enthralling story.  The fairy tale went sailing along until the end, when the wicked lady was dispatched by rolling her down a hill in a barrel studded with nails.  (!).  When my dad got home, he was met by a daughter who would thereafter ask after every story, “Is that the real ending of the story, or did you make it up?”